Research Statement

My work as a creative writer leads me in many directions: from history of the Holocaust to the study of American Sign Language, from the lives of homeless children to the treatment of leukemia. I may need to visit every Indian Reservation in Montana or climb a mountain in the Absarokas, witness an autopsy or teach creative writing to women in prison. In a recent class, my students and I investigated the ways people of different cultures understand spiritual and physical healing, the cycle of life and death, and the lives of individuals as they relate to the life of the community and the natural environment. To explore these questions we read the work of a Vietnamese Buddhist, a Sufi poet, an Indian novelist, a survivor of four Nazi death camps, and a Catholic nun who has served as a spiritual advisor to men on Death Row. Walker Percy says, "The search is what anyone would undertake if he were not sunk in the everydayness of his own life. To become aware of the possibility of the search is to be onto something. Not to be onto something is to be in despair."

Presentations

  • Idaho State University. Pocatello, Idaho. Five-day Writer's Residency, including Public Reading, Lecture, class visits, and Guest Workshop. Invited Talk/Keynote, Accepted, 11/2016.
  • Willamette University. Salem, Oregon. Three-day Writer's Residency, including Public Reading, class visits, and Guest Workshop. Invited Talk/Keynote, Accepted, 11/2016.
  • City Arts Reading with Lance Olsen. Salt Lake City, Utah. Presentation, Accepted, 10/2016.
  • AWP (Association of Writers & Writing Programs) Conference. Panel Presentation (refereed): Pedagogical Strategies in the Fiction Writing Workshop. Washington, D.C . Conference Paper, Refereed, Accepted, 08/2016.
  • Fiction Reading, The King's English Bookshop, Salt Lake City, Utah. Presentation, Accepted, 06/29/2015.
  • Fiction Reading and Guest Workshop: Get Lit! Literary Festival, Eastern Washington University, Spokane, Washington. Invited Talk/Keynote, Presented, 04/25/2015.
  • AWP (Association of Writers & Writing Programs) Conference, Minneapolis, Minnesota: Weird Science: Strategies to Encourage Innovative Writing in the Workshop. Co-presenters: Andrew Altschul, Lucy Corin, Eric Puchner, and Deb Olin Unferth. Conference Paper, Refereed, Presented, 04/11/2015.
  • FC2 Flash Fiction Reading, Instinct Art Gallery, Minneapolis, Minnesota. Presentation, Presented, 04/09/2015.
  • Fiction Reading and Guest Workshop. University of Wyoming, Laramie, Wyoming. Invited Talk/Keynote, Presented, 02/26/2015.
  • Fiction Reading and Guest Workshop. University of South Dakota, Vermillion, South Dakota. Invited Talk/Keynote, Presented, 02/19/2015.
  • Fiction Reading, Instinct Art Gallery, Minneapolis, Minnesota. Presentation, Accepted, 12/02/2014.
  • Fiction Reading, Guest Writers Series, Sam Weller's Bookstore, University of Utah, Salt Lake City, Utah. Presentation, Presented, 12/2014.
  • Fiction Reading and Guest Lecture, Lake Effect Writers Conference for High School Students and their Teachers: Copper Hills High School, South Jordan, Utah. Invited Talk/Keynote, Presented, 10/08/2014.
  • Keynote Speaker. High Plains BookFest, Billings, Montana. Invited Talk/Keynote, Presented, 10/2014.
  • Fiction Reading and Guest Workshop Instructor, Brigham Young University, Provo, Utah. Invited Talk/Keynote, Presented, 10/2014.
  • Misher Visiting Professor of the Humanities, Keynote Speaker and Guest Lecturer in three classes. Misher Festival of Fine Arts & Humanities, University of the Sciences, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Invited Talk/Keynote, Presented, 09/2014.
  • AWP (Association of Writers & Writing Programs) Conference, April 8 – 11, 2015: Minneapolis, Minnesota: Panel Presentation (refereed): Weird Science: Strategies to Encourage Innovative Writing in the Workshop. Co-presenters: Andrew Altschul, Lucy Corin, Eric Puchner, and Deb Olin Unferth. Conference Paper, Refereed, Accepted, 08/2014.
  • Fiction Reading and Guest Workshop. High Point University, High Point, North Carolina. Invited Talk/Keynote, Presented, 04/2014.
  • Science & Literature Symposium, Salt Lake City, Utah: Panel Presentation: Bad Decisions. Co-presenters: Craig Dworkin, Chrisoula Andreou, Matt Haber, Scott Hammond. Conference Paper, Refereed, Presented, 03/2014.
  • Fiction Reading, The King's English Bookshop, Salt Lake City, Utah. Presentation, Presented, 03/2014.
  • AWP (Association of Writers & Writing Programs) Conference, February 26 – March 1, 2014: Seattle, Washington: Panel Presentation (refereed): Writing about Children for Adults. Co-presenters: Suzanne Berne, Kent Meyers, Ann Pancake. Conference Paper, Refereed, Presented, 02/2014.
  • AWP (Association of Writers & Writing Programs) Conference, February 26 – March 1, 2014: Seattle, Washington: Panel Presentation (refereed): The Literary Legacy of Nirvana and Kurt Cobain. Co-presenters: Matthew Batt, Ryan Boudinot, Jason Skipper . Conference Paper, Refereed, Presented, 02/2014.
  • LTD Art Gallery, Fiction Reading, AWP Conference, Seattle, Washington. Presentation, Presented, 02/2014.
  • Fiction Reading and Guest Workshop. Whitworth University, Spokane, Washington. Invited Talk/Keynote, Presented, 11/2013.
  • Fiction Reading and Guest Workshop. University of San Francisco. Invited Talk/Keynote, Presented, 10/2013.
  • Fiction Reading and Guest Workshop. Utah Valley University, Orem, Utah. Invited Talk/Keynote, Presented, 04/02/2013.
  • FC2 Flash Fiction Reading, AWP Conference, Boston, Massachusetts. Presentation, Presented, 03/09/2013.
  • AWP (Association of Writers & Writing Programs) Conference, 8 March 2013, Boston, Massachusetts: Panel Presentation (refereed): The Literary Legacy of Andre Dubus. Co-presenters: Matthew Batt, Bruce Machart, Andre Dubus III, Nancy Zafris. Conference Paper, Refereed, Presented, 03/08/2013.
  • Fiction Reading and Guest Workshop. University of Massachusetts, Amherst. Invited Talk/Keynote, Presented, 01/31/2013.
  • Fiction Reading. City Arts, Salt Lake City, Utah. Presentation, Presented, 12/2012.
  • Utah Humanities Council Book Festival: Fiction Reading, Salt Lake City Library: October 20 (in recognition of the Utah Book Award for Adult Fiction). Invited Talk/Keynote, Presented, 10/2012.
  • Mountains & Plains Independent Booksellers Association Conference: Invited Talk in recognition of the Reading the West Book Award, Adult Fiction Winner: The Voice of the River, a novel. Awarded in 2012 for books published in 2011: Denver, Colorado. Invited Talk/Keynote, Presented, 09/2012.
  • San Francisco State University, Invited Speaker and Guest Workshop Instructor. Invited Talk/Keynote, Presented, 05/2012.
  • The Writer's Voice, Fiction Reading and Guest Workshop, Montana State University, Billings, Montana, supported by a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts. Presentation, Presented, 04/05/2012.
  • Montana State Women's Prison, Fiction Reading and Guest Workshop, Billings, Montana, supported by a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts. Presentation, Presented, 04/04/2012.
  • The University of St. Thomas, St. Paul, Minnesota: Invited Speaker for The Sacred Journey Festival of the Arts. In addition to the reading, I presented four guest lectures in undergraduate fiction workshops. Invited Talk/Keynote, Presented, 03/2012.
  • AWP (Association of Writers & Writing Programs) Conference, Chicago, Illinois: Panel Presentation (refereed): The Long and Short of It: Navigating the Transitions Between Writing Novels and Short Stories. Presentation, Presented, 03/01/2012.
  • AWP (Association of Writers & Writing Programs) Conference, FC2 Flash Reading, Chicago, Illinois. Presentation, Presented, 03/01/2012.
  • Texas Tech University, Lubbock, Texas: Invited Speaker and Guest Workshop Instructor. Invited Talk/Keynote, Presented, 02/2012.
  • Brigham Young University, Invited Speaker and Guest Workshop Instructor. Invited Talk/Keynote, Presented, 01/27/2012.
  • University of Missouri, Columbia, November 30 – December 3: Invited Speaker and Visiting Writer. Invited Talk/Keynote, Presented, 12/2011.
  • Utah Humanities Council Book Festival: Salt Lake City Library. The Heart Breaks and Breaks Open: Seven Reasons to Tell a Story in 2011. Invited Talk/Keynote, Presented, 10/22/2011.
  • Litquake Literary Festival, San Francisco, California: Stories on Stage. Presentation, Presented, 10/13/2011.
  • San José State University, San José, California: Invited Speaker and Guest Workshop Instructor. Invited Talk/Keynote, Presented, 10/11/2011.
  • "When Less Is More: The Short Story." Montana Festival of the Book, Missoula (in association with the Western Literature Conference): October 8, 2011. Co-presenters: Shann Ray, Alan Heathcock, Glen Chamberlain. Moderator: David Abrams. Presentation, Presented, 10/08/2011.
  • "Silent Snow, Singing Sparrow," Fiction Reading: Montana Festival of the Book, Missoula (in association with the Western Literature Conference). Invited Talk/Keynote, Presented, 10/07/2011.
  • University of Notre Dame, Invited Speaker and Guest Workshop Instructor. Invited Talk/Keynote, Presented, 09/21/2011.
  • Printers Row Book Fair and Festival, Chicago, Illinois: June 4 – 5. "In the Heart of the Heart of the Story": Panel. Presentation, Presented, 06/2011.
  • Printers Row Book Fair and Festival, Chicago, Illinois: June 4 – 5. "Xmas, Jamaica Plain": Fiction Reading. Presentation, Presented, 06/2011.
  • Seattle Pacific University, Seattle (Whidbey Island), Washington: Invited Speaker and Guest Workshop Instructor, March 24 – 26. Invited Talk/Keynote, Presented, 03/2011.

Geographical Regions of Interest

  • Africa
  • Antarctica
  • Europe
  • Northern America

Publications

  • "The Voice of the River," Tuscaloosa: University of Alabama Press, FC2. Published, 09/2011.
  • “The Miracle,” poem and fusion photograph, On Earth As It Is, Prayer Project: http://onearthasitis.net/ (complete site); http://onearthasitis.net/thon.html (my page). Published, 02/2010.
    http://onearthasitis.net/ (complete site); http...
  • “Seven Times Seven,” fiction, Indiana Review, vol. 31, no. 1: 171 – 177. Published, 07/2009.
  • “Lost Children,” Southern Review, vol. 45, no. 2: 192 – 200. Published, 10/2009.
  • "Confession for Raymond Good Bird," fiction, included in Of A Monstrous Child, edited by Nate Liederbach and James Harris; Sandpoint, Idaho: Lost Horse Press, 79 - 93. Published, 01/2011.
  • "Blind Fish," fiction, included in Short Story Omnibus, Chicago: The Great Books Foundation, 2009: 462 – 464. Published, 05/2009.
  • “The Red Fox,” Short Fiction, (United Kingdom): Issue 3: 122 – 128. Published, 11/2009.
  • “How the World Begins,” Iron Horse, vol. 11, no. 6: 44 – 45. Published, 12/2009.
  • “Retreating Light,” fiction, Five Points, vol. 12, no. 3: 81 – 89. Published, 10/2009.
  • "The Liberating Visions (and futile flight) of Melanie Little Crow," fiction, included in Bearing the Mystery: Twenty Years of Image Journal, Eerdman’s Books, 2009: 335 – 344. Published, 08/2009.
  • “Survivors,” Agni, no. 69: 31 – 37. Published, 10/2009.
  • “Birdsong Under Water,” Idaho Review, Tenth Anniversary Issue, vol. X: 119 – 122. Published, 05/2009.
  • “Virgin Forest,” fusion photograph, Glimmer Train, Issue 68: 215. Published, 07/2008.
  • "Tu B'Shvat: for the drowned and the saved," fiction, Drumlummon Views, Vol. 2, No. 1, Fall 2008. Published, 11/2008.
    http://www.drumlummon.org/html/toc_V2-1.html
  • "Confession for Raymond Good Bird," fiction, Pushcart Prize XXXII: Best of the Small Presses, 2008: 139 – 153. Published, 11/2008.
  • “In This Light,” Conjunctions 51: The Death Issue: 193 – 201. Published, 08/2008.
  • “River’s Edge,” fiction, Image: A Journal of the Arts and Religion, no. 58: 23 – 24. Published, 07/2008.
  • “Silent Snow, Singing Sparrow,” fiction, Idaho Review, vol. IX: 12 – 15. Published, 10/2008.
  • “Mary in Reflection,” fusion photograph, cover for holiday issue of Iron Horse Literary Review. Published, 12/2008.
  • “Deep Winter,” Iron Horse Literary Review, Holiday Issue, December 2008, vol. 10, no. 6: 17 – 18. Published, 12/2008.
  • “Deer Song,” fiction, Web Conjunctions, July: http://www.conjunctions.com/webcon/thon08.htm. Published, 10/2008.
    http://www.conjunctions.com/webcon/thon08.htm.
  • “Saviors,” fiction, Glimmer Train, Issue 68: 119 – 124. Published, 07/2008.
  • “Love Song for the Mother of No Children,” fiction, Virginia Quarterly Review, vol. 84, no. 2: 244 – 250. Published, 10/2008.
  • Lover, fine art limited edition chapbook in collaboration with visual artist, Prompt Press: accepted 2017 for release in 2018. Accepted, 11/02/2017.
  • Melanie Rae Thon & Edited by A. Marie Houser (2017). "Galaxies Beyond Violet". After Coetzee: an Anthology of Animal Fictions, (print anthology): Minneapolis: Faunary Press, 2017. Published, 08/23/2017.
  • Melanie Rae Thon (2017). "Birdsong". Sand & Sky: Poems from Utah, Salt Lake City: The Rumi Club. Published, 08/23/2017.
  • Girls in the Grass, story collection, reprinted as eBook by Macmillan. Originally published: New York: Random House, 1991. Published, 01/06/2017.
  • "In the Exclusion Zone," Orion: March / April: 34 - 39. Published, 03/16/2016.
  • "The Bodies of Birds," fiction, Image: A Journal of the Arts and Religion: no. 87: 7 -16. Published, 01/04/2016.
  • "The Good Samaritan Speaks," book, fine art edition, Prompt Press: available online: http://promptpress.org/ and print. (The print edition of Prompt Press will be part of permanent special collections at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (MOMA), University of Iowa, University of Buffalo, Washington University in St. Louis, and the Etherton Gallery in Tucson. The fine art limited print edition (50) is available for purchase directly from Prompt Press and at Prairie Lights Books in Iowa City. My poem serves as the “prompt” to inspire creative work by eight visual artists.). Published, 12/31/2015.
    http://promptpress.org
  • "Morning Twilight," fine art limited edition broadside, Saltfront: Studies in Human Habit(at) and Saltgrass Printmakers. Published, 12/04/2015.
  • The 7th Man, chapbook, Tucson, Arizona: New Michigan Press. Published, 11/2015.
  • "The Heart Breaks and Breaks Open: Seven Reasons to Tell a Story in the New Millennium," essay, originally published in Glimmer Train Bulletin 56. Published, 10/16/2015.
    http://www.fc2.org/authors/thon/thon.html
  • "You Can't Avoid Trouble: First, Body," essay: essay: Fiction Collective Two. http://www.fc2.org/authors/thon/thon.html. Published, 09/30/2015.
  • Silence & Song, a collection of lyric fictions, Tuscaloosa: University of Alabama Press / FC2. Published, 09/30/2015.
  • "Troubling the Waters: Judy Ruiz, John Wideman, Lance Olsen, and My Astonishing Students," essay: Fiction Collective Two. http://www.fc2.org/authors/thon/thon.html. Published, 09/30/2015.
  • "Cracking Consciousness Open: Samuel Beckett, Kurt Cobain, and The Book of Job," essay: http://www.fc2.org/authors/thon/thon.html. Published, 09/22/2015.
  • "Blood On Fire: Notes on The 7th Man," essay: Fiction Collective Two. http://www.fc2.org/authors/thon/thon.html- opens new window. Published, 09/22/2015.
  • "All Life Is Love: Silence & Song," essay: Fiction Collective Two. Published, 09/11/2015.
    http://www.fc2.org/authors/thon/thon.html
  • "Music & Meaning," essay, originally published in Architectures of Possibility: After Innovative Fiction, edited by Trevor Dodge and Lance Olsen. Bowie, MD: Guide Dog. Published, 08/23/2015.
    http://www.fc2.org/authors/thon/thon.html
  • "Early Trouble: Girls in the Grass," essay: http://www.fc2.org/authors/thon/thon.html - opens new window. Published, 07/2015.
  • "Dangerous Discoveries," essay, originally published in Fugue. Published, 07/2015.
    http://www.fc2.org/authors/thon/thon.html
  • "The Sleepwalker Speaks to the Good Samaritan," fiction, The Elixir: Spring 2015: 167 - 173. Published, 05/2015.
  • "The Good Samaritan Speaks," poem, The Elixir: Spring 2015: 166. Published, 05/2015.
  • Puerto del Sol: Melanie Rae Thon interviewed by Savannah Johnston:. Published, 04/2015.
    http://puertodelsol.org/2015/04/three-questions-wi...
  • "In the Garden," fiction, American Short Fiction: vol. 18, issue 59: 51 - 54. Published, 04/2015.
  • "Seven Questions for the Working Writer": Melanie Rae Thon interviewed by Jenna Leigh Evans. Published, 04/2015.
    http://jennaleigh-evans.squarespace.com/new-blog-1...
  • "As Breath from Fog," fiction, Ocean State Review: vol. 4, no. 1: 11 - 18. Published, 03/2015.
  • Iona Moon, a novel, Open Road Media publication as an eBook. Originally published New York: Poseidon, 1993. Published, 12/30/2014.
    http://www.openroadmedia.com/iona-moon
  • First, Body, story collection, Open Road Media publication as an eBook. Originally published Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1997. Published, 12/30/2014.
    http://www.openroadmedia.com/first-body
  • Sweet Hearts, a novel, Open Road Media publication as an eBook. Originally published Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 2001. Published, 12/30/2014.
    http://www.openroadmedia.com/sweet-hearts
  • Meteors in August, a novel, Open Road Media publication as an eBook. Originally published New York: Random House, 1990. Published, 12/30/2014.
    http://www.openroadmedia.com/meteors-in-august
  • "The Ethics of Perception," philosophical essay, included in The Force of What’s Possible: Writers on Accessibility and the Avant-Garde. Callicoon, New York: Nightboat Books: 309 - 312. Published, 12/10/2014.
  • "As Breath, from Fog," lyric fiction, Ocean State Review: vol. 4, no. 1: 11 - 18. Published, 09/2014.
  • “The Sleepwalker Speaks to the Good Samaritan,” hybrid poetry / lyric essay, Puerto del Sol: vol. 49, no. 1: 136 - 143. Published, 03/2014.
  • “Desierto Peligroso,” hybrid fiction / lyric essay, Pleiades: vol. 34, issue 1: 29 -32. Published, 03/2014.
  • "Bodies of Water," fiction, reprint, No Tokens: Issue 1: 149 - 164. Published, 02/2014.
  • "Girls in the Grass," short fiction, 40 Years of Cutbank. Published, 11/2013.
  • “The Light of Stars, Yes,” fiction, Gulf Coast: vol. 26, issue 1: 117-121. Published, 11/2013.
  • “The Immigrants,” hybrid fiction / lyric essay, Rock & Sling: Vol. 8, Issue 2: 55 - 57. (Originally published in Shadowbox: Issue 6.). Published, 10/2013.
  • Switchback. Melanie Rae Thon interviewed by Charlie Kennedy. http://swback.com/interviews/interview-melanie-rae-thon.html. Published, 09/2013.
  • "My Country Before, My Country After,” hybrid poetry / fiction / lyric essay, Lumina: Vol. XII: 157 - 160. Published, 07/2013.
  • “Jackrabbit, Lizard, Rattlesnake, Saguaro,” fiction, Agni: vol. 77: 140 – 151. Published, 05/2013.
  • North Central Review: Melanie Rae Thon interviewed by Heather Placko: http://orgs.noctrl.edu/review/authorinterviews.html. Published, 05/2013.
  • "Galaxies Beyond Violet,” hybrid fiction / lyric essay, Five Points, 15th Anniversary Issue: vol. 15, no. 1 & 2: 74 - 80. Published, 03/2013.
  • Review of “Still Life” by Vinicius Jatobá, Granta: http://www.granta.com/New-Writing/Melanie-Rae-Thon-on-Vinicius-Jatoba. Published, 02/2013.
  • "The Immigrants," hybrid fiction / lyric essay, Shadowbox: http://www.shadowboxmagazine.org/issue6/. Published, 01/2013.
  • Fourteen Hills: Melanie Rae Thon interviewed by Stephanie Doeing. Vol. 19, No.1: 97 - 107. Published, 01/2013.
  • “Niña Pérdida: Love Song for Iris,” story, Fourteen Hills: Vol. 19, No. 1: 108 – 118. Published, 01/2013.
  • “The Good Samaritan Speaks,” Image: A Journal of the Arts and Religion: Issue 74: 99 – 100. Published, 11/2012.
  • “The Window,” Image: A Journal of the Arts and Religion: Issue 74: 99 – 100. Published, 11/2012.
  • "Instructions for Extinction" reprinted in Fakes: An Anthology of Pseudo-Interviews, Faux-Lectures, Quasi-Letters, “Found” Texts, and Other Fraudulent Artifacts, edited by David Shields and Matthew Vollmer, New York, NY: Norton, 2012: 291 – 294. Originally published in Colorado Review, vol. XXVIII, no. two: 170 – 174. Published, 10/2012.
  • "Everything Is Good" and "Morning Light," fusion photographs, invited contribution, Altered Scale, curated by Jeff Hansen: http://alteredscale.com/margaret-rae-thon/. Published, 09/2012.
  • Fiction Writers Review: Interview with Aaron Cance: The Idea That Has Entered the Flesh: Melanie Rae Thon and The Voice of the River. Published, 02/08/2012.
    http://fictionwritersreview.com/interviews/the-ide...
  • “Music & Meaning,” essay, included in Architectures of Possibility: After Innovative Fiction, edited by Trevor Dodge and Lance Olsen. Bowie, MD: Guide Dog Books, 2012: 171 - 172. Published, 02/2012.
  • "Tu B'Shvat: for the drowned and the saved," story, The Antioch Review: 70th Anniversary Issue, vol. 69, No. 4, Fall 2011: 725 – 751. Published, 11/2011.
  • “The Heart Breaks and Breaks Open,” essay (expanded version of "Five Reasons to Tell a Story in 2011), invited contribution, Glimmer Train Bulletin 56: http://www.glimmertrain.com/b56thon.html. Published, 09/2011.
  • “Catalytic Convergence,” essay, invited contribution, The Story Prize: http://thestoryprize.blogspot.com/2011/08/melanie-rae-thon-catalytic-convergence.html. Published, 08/11/2011.
  • “The Companionship of Stone,” Antioch Review, vol. 69, no. 3: 409 – 423. Published, 07/2011.
  • “There Is No Happiness Like Mine,” essay, invited contribution, Beatrice, edited by Ron Hogan: http://beatrice.com/wordpress/2011/05/16/melanie-rae-thon-guest-author/. Published, 05/2011.
  • “The Book of Wonders,” writing experiment, invited contribution, Poets & Writers: http://www.pw.org/content/melanie_rae_thon. Published, 05/2011.
  • “Playlist for Tu B’Shvat,” essay, invited contribution, Largehearted Boy, edited by David Gutowski: http://www.largeheartedboy.com/blog/archive/2011/05/book_notes_mela.html. Published, 05/2011.
  • “Five Reasons to Tell a Story in 2011,” essay, invited contribution, The Quivering Pen, edited by David Abrams: http://davidabramsbooks.blogspot.com/search?q=Melanie+Rae+Thon. Published, 05/2011.
  • "In This Light: New and Selected Stories," Saint Paul: Graywolf. Published, 05/2011.
  • “Lullaby for Lost Children,” Iron Horse, vol. 12.6 / 13.1: 55 – 56. Published, 04/2011.
  • "A Letter for Diana," introduction to the work of Diana Joseph, included in Of a Monstrous Child, edited by Nate Liederbach and James Harris; Sandpoint, Idaho: Lost Horse Press, 59 - 62. Published, 01/2011.